Fred Selolwane was born and grew up in Botswana, studied quantity surveying in England, then went back home to Africa to practice it. He tells Andy Pearson why
When you were at school in Africa you wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor; how did you end up as a quantity surveyor?
You have to study for two years at university in Botswana before the government will sponsor you to study abroad. During those two years I did some careers research and met friends who worked in construction. I ended up choosing a degree in quantity surveying at the University of Central England, including a year at Davis Langdon & Everest in Birmingham.

Did you think about staying in the UK when you finished your degree?
I had offers of work in the UK, but I felt I had to give something back to the country that had paid for my education; so I came back to Botswana and worked for Davis Langdon here.

Are you planning any further study?
Some time in the future I'd like to do an MBA to give myself an in-depth knowledge of business.

Do you have any advice for students considering quantity surveying?
I would advise them to talk to people working in practice. They should do a degree, and take a year out because it helps gain experience and make contacts for when they finish.

How long have you been a QS?
I began working for Davis Langdon CCMI in August 2001. In November 2002 I was made a full partner with an equity holding.

What does a typical day involve?
Our office hours are 8am to 4.30pm, but I usually get to work by 7.30am. I start my day by sorting out the office administration – I'm also responsible for that – which usually takes about two hours, then I'll spend the rest of the day working on the projects I'm running and in meetings. I usually leave the office at about 6pm for a pint of beer to finish the day.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are working on an 11-storey building for the Ministry of Health in Gaborone, revenue offices for the Botswana Power Corporation in Francistown and a new fire station for the local authority. I'm also concentrating on ensuring that this practice becomes the number one player in Botswana.

Is there a difference between quantity surveying in Botswana and the UK?
It is imperative we have an act of law in Botswana to scrutinise people setting themselves up as quantity surveyors to protect both the profession and clients. At the moment we have a body, the Institution of Botswana Quantity Surveyors, but it needs to be backed up by an act, as in the UK, so everybody is registered.

Fred Selolwane

Current Job
Equity director, Davis Langdon CCMI, Botswana, southern Africa
Employment history
Since leaving the University of Central England with a first-class honours degree in quantity surveying – the first Botswanan to do so – Fred has worked for Davis Langdon CCMI in Gaborone, Botswana
Karate – he is a black belt – and watching and playing football